Aidan of Lindisfarne



In Aidan gets my vote I suggested St Aidan was a more appropriate patron saint for England than St George. Thinking about that again on this year's St Aidan's Day (31 August), I think he would make a suitable saint for all Britain - except perhaps Wales. The photo above is of part of the statue of Aidan on Holy Island in Northumberland.

Originally from Ireland, Aidan came from his monastery on the island of Iona in Scotland as a missionary to the Angles and other peoples of Northumbria in northern England. He got sent there after Corman had returned from his unsuccessful mission reporting that the Northumbrians were too uncivilised and stubborn to be converted. It would seem that Aidan was more gifted than Corman at getting alongside people, even when he did not speak their language. Here is what the Venerable Bede wrote about him
"He neither sought nor loved anything of this world, but delighted in distributing immediately to the poor whatever was given him by kings or rich men. He traversed both town and country on foot, never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity. Wherever on his way he saw any, either rich or poor, he invited them, if pagans, to embrace the mystery of the faith; or if they were believers, he sought to strengthen them in their faith and stir them up by words and actions to alms and good works."
The prayer below is known as St Aidan's prayer. At the end of a Bank Holiday weekend in England, with the prospect for many of returning to work tomorrow, it seems a good time to post this prayer. It alludes to the situation of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne where St Aidan established a monastery. It is an island cut off from the mainland at the sea's high tide, but is accessible on foot via a causeway at low tide. 



Leave me alone with God 
as much as may be.
As the tide draws the waters 
close in upon the shore,
Make me an island, set apart,
alone with you, God, 
holy to you.

Then with the turning of the tide
prepare me to carry your presence 
to the busy world beyond,
the world that rushes in on me
till the waters come again 
and fold me back to you.




Everlasting God,
you sent the gentle bishop Aidan
to proclaim the gospel in this land:
grant us to live as he taught
in simplicity, humility, and love for the poor;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. 
Church of England Collect for Aidan of Lindisfarne



Image Credit: Statue of St Aidan Flickr, CC License
Holy Island causeway photo from Tammy found here

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